There are several river cruises that sail the Douro River, which flows through Portugal and Spain, and offers a unique perspective on the region's history, culture, and natural beauty. Itineraries usually start in Lisbon, where guests spend one or more nights in the city and visit such landmarks as the stately Monastery of San Jeronimo and the ornate, waterfront Belem Tower, then head up to Porto on the mouth of the river at the Atlantic Ocean, and sail through the northern part of the country, past vineyards, old farmhouses and rolling terrain. In Porto, guests spend time in the medieval city center, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sip sweet port wine -- and learn how it's made -- at the wine academy at Pinhao, the center of port wine production. Explore a 14th-century monastery at Alpendurada, and stroll the beautiful gardens of Mateus Palace, located near Regua. You'll also cross the border with Spain and spend a day in Salamanca, a spectacular Renaissance city and home to one of the world's oldest universities.
Here are a few examples of river cruises that sail the Douro River, and some of the highlights of cruising this scenic waterway:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection:
Uniworld offers a "Douro River Valley" cruise that explores the wine, history, and culture of Portugal. This cruise sails round-trip from Porto, stopping at cities such as Regua, Pinhão, and Barca d'Alva. Onboard, passengers can enjoy wine tastings, vineyard tours, and guided excursions to historic sites.
Viking River Cruises:
Viking offers a "Portugal's River of Gold" cruise that explores the history and culture of Portugal and Spain. This cruise sails from Lisbon to Porto, stopping at cities such as Salamanca and Vega de Terron. Onboard, passengers can enjoy cultural performances, educational lectures, and local cuisine.
AmaWaterways offers a "Enticing Douro" cruise that explores the wine and cuisine of the region. This cruise sails round-trip from Porto, stopping at cities such as Vega de Terron, Pinhão, and Regua. Onboard, passengers can attend wine tastings and pairings, as well as enjoy guided tours of local wineries and vineyards.
CroisiEurope offers a "The Douro Valley and Salamanca" cruise that explores the wine and culture of the region. This cruise sails round-trip from Porto, stopping at cities such as Pinhão, Vega de Terron, and Salamanca. Onboard, passengers can attend wine tastings and pairings, as well as enjoy guided tours of local wineries and vineyards.
Some of the highlights of cruising the Douro River include:
These are just a few of the highlights of cruising the Douro River. It's worth noting that the specific experiences and activities offered may vary from one cruise to another, so it's important to research the itinerary and activities of any river cruise to determine if it aligns with your interests.
Cruising is a particularly good value, because your stateroom, onboard meals and sightseeing are included in the rate that you pay up front. Tour directors are with you the entire way taking care of everyday details, while experienced local guides share a wealth of knowledge about each stop.
River cruise Lines
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